Tyra Banks to participate in Access Granted discussion series by Access Abu Dhabi, powered by ADIO


Tyra Banks.
Tyra Banks.

Dubbed ‘Women of Web3’ (WoW3), a powerhouse delegation of disruptive female US tech entrepreneurs from the United States will join Access Granted to provide expert insights while exploring Abu Dhabi as a gateway for global expansion.


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Thu 19 May 2022, 11:31 PM

Last updated: Thu 19 May 2022, 11:39 PM

Supermodel turned Super Businesswoman Tyra Banks will visit Abu Dhabi later this month as part of the Women of Web3 delegation hosted by Access Abu Dhabi, a Maven Global Access Programme powered by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO). The programme supports the expansion of women and minority-led businesses into Abu Dhabi.

A highlight of Tyra Banks’ visit will be headlining the inaugural session of the Access Granted discussion series at Saadiyat Rotana, The Ballroom on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

Banks will join Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), the government entity overseeing ADIO’s activities, in front of an audience of business community members, business students and changemakers to share her journey and future as an entrepreneur. They will also discuss opportunities for women in business in Abu Dhabi.

Access Granted featuring Banks will provide rare insight into the acumen of one of the world’s most iconic fashion models in history who is now a media and business pioneer with a portfolio that includes her Emmy Award winning production company, Bankable Productions.

Through her production company, Banks has made television history having created and executive produced “The Tyra Show”, with programming that spanned from Tyra interviewing multiple US Presidential candidates to topics that focused on issues faced by young women. “America’s Next Top Model”, which she created and served as Executive Producer, is the second longest running reality show in America. Her latest venture, premium ice cream brand, SMiZE Cream, is gearing up to take its success global.

A champion of diversity in business, Al Shorafa shared his enthusiasm about the forthcoming delegation. “We look forward to welcoming Tyra Banks and the ‘Women of Web 3’ delegation to Abu Dhabi as part of our continuing vision to support ambitious business leaders cultivating innovative, globally exportable solutions.”

Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa.
Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa.

He added, “With the abundant opportunities for innovative businesses in Abu Dhabi, ADIO is committed to supporting companies seeking growth in and from the emirate. Access Abu Dhabi provides a gateway for entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to plug into an empowering, enabling ecosystem for business expansion to the Middle East.”

SMiZE Cream successfully launched in 2021 as an ice cream brand that not only delights customers with its unique hidden edible surprise inside of every ice cream cup, but also its eye-popping design. In addition, the brand incorporates augmented reality into its packaging and champions setting dreams and goals as well as mentorship.

Banks is thrilled to share the scoop on the opportunities and challenges that exist for women in business and technology and how she plans to incorporate Web3 into her business model.

She shared, “The UAE has been really impressive when it comes to investing in innovation.” She continued, “I have a global vision for SMiZE Cream so I’m really thrilled to be here to share my entrepreneurial journey, discuss strategy and explore how Abu Dhabi can be a part of its next big chapter. I truly adore the region and am excited to create lots of value and impact.”

The 26 May Access Granted programme will also feature the Women of Web3 (WoW3) – an all-female delegation of leaders in cryptocurrency, blockchain and other Web3 technology entrepreneurs – who will discuss the challenges, opportunities and future of this space, in which 5 per cent to 7 per cent of all cryptocurrency users are women and just 12 per cent work in blockchain technology.

Panelists Sandy Carter, SVP and Channel Chief at Unstoppable Domains; Olayinka Odeniran, Founder and Chairwoman of Black Women Blockchain Council; Cathy Wu, Director of Investor Relations at Multicoin Capital; Genevieve Bos, Cofounder and Chief Revenue Officer at Poplar; Lisa Mayer, Founder of Boss Beauties; and Janice Taylor, Founder and CEO of EQ Exchange will detail the barriers to entry and derailers that women face, as well as resources and strategies that can help retain and promote women within these sectors.

In their quest to explore Abu Dhabi’s business expansion opportunities, from 24-26 May, the delegation will meet with crypto, blockchain and Web3 business leaders, and key business setup service providers across the emirate’s ecosystem.

Organised by Maven Global Access and powered by ADIO, Access Abu Dhabi launched in November 2021 with a mission to support global women and minority-led companies seeking expansion to the Middle East via the emirate.

Upon launch, a VIP delegation of 22 investors, industry leaders and celebrities-turned-entrepreneurs, led by Programme Ambassador Kevin O’Leary – star of CNBC’s Shark Tank – embarked on a three-day immersive experience to explore why Abu Dhabi is the gateway to the future.

Sarah Omolewu.
Sarah Omolewu.

Sarah Omolewu, Managing Partner of Maven Global Access and founder of Access Abu Dhabi, said: “This is a full-circle moment that I’m elated to have in the country that I call my second home. I spent some of the most formative years of my US career following and being inspired by Tyra’s marketing genius and successes. Having the opportunity now to introduce her to Abu Dhabi, while creating economic opportunity and impact for other women in business, is truly an honour.” — sandhya@khaleejtimes.com

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